0 items - $0.00
Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Search Results

Once a Student, Always a Student: Medbh McGuckian’s Love of Learning

Once a Student, Always a Student: Medbh McGuckian’s Love of Learning

…Muldoon, whom she still works with frequently. Also at Queens University, McGuckian studied under Seamus Heaney, who not only taught McGuckian much about writing, but inspired the current spelling of her name. While signing a book for her, Heaney wrote McGuckian’s first name in the traditional Irish way, spelling it Medbh rather than Maeve. McGuckian adopted this spelling and has used it ever since. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree, McGu…

Continue Reading

Poem of the Week: “Open Rose” by Medbh McGuckian

Poem of the Week: “Open Rose” by Medbh McGuckian

…that speak to her capabilities as a woman. At the conclusion of her poem, McGuckian reveals that she has “grown inside words/ Into a state of unbornness.” What this means for McGuckian is mysterious. Could it mean that she is redefining herself through her work, or could it mean that she is losing her identity due to her work? Her poem reveals as much about McGuckian as it hides. The true joy in reading Marconi’s Cottage comes from deciphering he…

Continue Reading

Medbh McGuckian

Medbh McGuckian

…ok, Blaris Moor, was published in 2016. With Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Medbh McGuckian co-translated Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill’s collection The Water Horse (2000); she is also the author of Horsepower Pass By! A Study of the Car in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney (1999) and is the editor of an anthology of younger Northern Irish poets, The Big Striped Umbrella (1985). Praise for Medbh McGuckian “Dickinsonian in her foregrounding of female domestic experience…

Continue Reading

Medbh McGuckian speaks about The High Caul Cap: “the cap is an end and a beginning”

Medbh McGuckian speaks about The High Caul Cap: “the cap is an end and a beginning”

…ant physical decrepitude culminating in her slow and dancelike departure”. McGuckian discusses her own views of mortality, both personal and universal. She reveals her fascination with biographies stating, “… it is always good to follow a human being of some importance in and out of this life.” She also discloses her tendency to read books backwards or upside down—because it’s more interesting. In addition, McGuckian offers advice on writing, disc…

Continue Reading

Poem of the Week: “The Sofa” by Medbh McGuckian

…with each pass. As the editors comment in their introduction to the work, McGuckian’s “unique poetic style renders her one of the most compelling voices in contemporary poetry in English. Her unusual method of composition, weaving together strands from various prose texts, turns her poems into strangely original, dreamlike creations, both haunted and haunting.” We’ve chosen an early poem from McGuckian’s ouevre to share with you today, and we hop…

Continue Reading

Poem of the Week: “The Reading Fever” by Medbh McGuckian

…ilitia men condemned by the authorities as members of the United Irishmen. McGuckian’s subjects may be set in the past, but the themes of moral balance in Blaris Moor resonate with present difficulties and insecurities. Today we bring you a selection from early in the volume: The Reading Fever The heart experiences systole, small controlled doses of forgetfulness. The intellect performs a full resolution as though to a light by which it went on be…

Continue Reading

“Where language fades into cries or whispers”: An Interview with Medbh McGuckian

…contains over 130 poems from 13 collections. In honor of its publication, McGuckian talked to WFU Press interns Alex Muller and Shannon Magee about the concoction of angels, controlling the flow of time, and the virtue of poetry’s gentle intellect. WFU Press: In putting together this new selected, we’ve been able to track how some of your poems have changed as they’ve been printed in new editions over the years. When do you know a poem is finishe…

Continue Reading

Poem of the Week: “Closed Bells” by Medbh McGuckian

Poem of the Week: “Closed Bells” by Medbh McGuckian

…out, frostbitten images offer the characteristic “wordlessness” for which McGuckian is best known and create a dream world suspended in the mid-season chill. Closed Bells Frost hollows small areas of leaf in gardenless margins. Wounded by the thought of nests expanding, they inspire devotion of a sort, using this world as if not using it to the full, a risky limbo. Front action on the loose-fitting stones and frost-broken rock over-divides itself…

Continue Reading

Poem of the Week: “Time-Words” by Medbh McGuckian

Poem of the Week: “Time-Words” by Medbh McGuckian

Published the year I was born, Medbh McGuckian’s Marconi’s Cottage is full of mysterious and intriguing poems. Her use of metaphors and similes makes the following a beautiful piece of writing and an inspiring work of art. Time-Words I am a debt, soon I will be added, As words wither away with the things they describe, As clouds may catch each other up, As now is overtaken and tomorrow is an ‘I’. Saying ‘we’ is dangerous, like time-words without…

Continue Reading

Arts and Culture: Cover Art for McGuckian’s My Love Has Fared Inland

…ording to a review by Borbala Farago in The Irish University Review, Medbh McGuckian’s My Love Has Fared Inland takes up “familiar themes of creativity and spirituality” and the poems “trace an introspective trajectory” including themes of “death, writing, nature, and love.” Due to the diverse content of the book, it was important for Wake Forest University Press to capture the essence of the poetry and mirror the book’s themes through the cover a…

Continue Reading

Poem of the Week: “The Girl Who Turned into a Sunflower” by Medbh McGuckian

Taken from the collection My Love Has Fared Inland, Medbh McGuckian’s “The Girl Who Turned into a Sunflower” is both one myth and many. The poem’s title refers to the Greek mythical figure Clytie, whose tragic love for the sun god, Helios, led to her transformation into a sunflower. The series of allusions to mythical transformations of women, bookended by water and the paradoxically “unchanging laurel,” meta-poetically refers to both the mutabil…

Continue Reading

Poem of the Week: “The Finder has Become the Seeker” by Medbh McGuckian

Poem of the Week: “The Finder has Become the Seeker” by Medbh McGuckian

…just starting to melt outside. The play of language in today’s poem, Medbh McGuckian’s “The Finder has Become the Seeker,” offers images of resurrection, extraction and emergence that ultimately gives the reader a feeling of hope. The Finder has Become the Seeker Sleep easy, supposed fatherhood, resembling a flowerbed. Though I extract you here and now from the soil, open somehow your newly opened leaves: I like to breathe what ought to be. You de…

Continue Reading

Poem of the Week: “Santo Spirito Lands on Mars” by Medbh McGuckian

Medbh McGuckian’s “Santo Spirito Lands on Mars” paints an ethereal picture of the Basilica di Santo Spirito in Florence, Italy. In comparing it to Mars, the church is made into a heavenly sight, evoking a sense of reverence and awe despite the ordinary materials of its construction and its almost “toylike” appearance. Santo Spirito Lands on Mars Looking at the picture seems almost a form of trespass: it would never have shown itself as it did, th…

Continue Reading

Selected Poems | Medbh McGuckian

Selected Poems | Medbh McGuckian

This Selected Poems features generous selections from each of Medbh McGuckian‘s first five collections (from 1978–1994) serve as an introduction to this gloriously gifted—and pioneering—poet, as a stock-taking moment to reconsider her luxuriant constructions, and as a welcome occasion to learn further how to receive the signals of her opulent imagination. Reviews “This volume achieves exactly what a Selected Poems should: It is a splendid introdu…

Continue Reading

A Lil’ Bit of Lit. Crit.

A Lil’ Bit of Lit. Crit.

…interesting about Jordan’s review is that she focuses in on one element of McGuckian’s work that many critics have failed to see: the subtle presence of boundaries between that which is internal and that which is external. When reading McGuckian’s newer works, it is often our first tendency as readers to melt into the seamlessness of her imagery, so much so that critics rarely discuss when or why McGuckian’s “verbal gymnastics,” her manipulations…

Continue Reading

The High Caul Cap

The High Caul Cap

…h Farm”) trying to establish the exact nature of their love. As in many of McGuckian’s books, blue is a sacred color (of the Madonna, the sea, the sky) in The High Caul Cap, and saints and angels appear throughout the volume as though to remind us of how the masters used such icons to transform their myths into art. McGuckian uses these icons to grieve for, interrogate, and transform into poetry her late mother’s “tangible gaze.” Kindle version av…

Continue Reading

A Lil’ Bit of Lit. Crit.

A Lil’ Bit of Lit. Crit.

…h the individual words she uses to create them. With these various images, McGuckian’s readers are never in the same place very long, if at all. Between the floating quality of McGuckian’s text and Smith’s reference to Emerson’s spiritual writings on Nature, the idea of “a quickening” in the final line can be read two ways. In one way, it is the experience of a vast variety of images transitioning at shutter-speed, and in another, it is also the i…

Continue Reading

Dream Language

Dream Language

…be soothing and reassuring, because people are nourished by their dreams.’ McGuckian forces the reader to slow down. It’s all too easy to fall into skimming, or to turn pages absent-mindedly without thinking about what’s being said. That will not work with McGuckian—readers have to pay attention, and it’s not unusual to reread a poem several times before you can recognize the themes. The best advice I can give for delving into her poetry is to dev…

Continue Reading

The Unfixed Horizon: New Selected Poems

The Unfixed Horizon: New Selected Poems

…al structures, wide-angled metaphors, and metamorphic images multiplying in dream-like fashion will be richly rewarded. Kindle version available at Amazon.com iBook version available on iTunes Praise for The Unfixed Horizon: New Selected Poems This book “shows McGuckian’s best attempts to invent ‘new thoughts’ through radical juxtapositions. . . . The poems in this selection, chosen by two scholars rather than McGuckian herself, are at once lyrica…

Continue Reading

Interns’ Corner: So Many New Reviews!!

…as interesting to find that Jordan had noticed several things when reading McGuckian that us interns have experienced as well. For Jordan, it seems as though McGuckian explores the dynamic tension between writing and being, between pen and hand, alphabet and page … McGuckian’s poetic universe is a place where the elasticity of language leaps between the natural and the human world; it interweaves the two until it is difficult to know where one ele…

Continue Reading

Marconi’s Cottage

Marconi’s Cottage

…ysterious poems of Marconi’s Cottage, Medbh McGuckian evokes the uncanny presence of a muse whose “unseduceable two rows of small black doors” hinge life and death, the two sides of a single page, views from a room that faces in and out. Reviews “[L]ike Dickinson, whose own deceptively tidy stanzas McGuckian’s rather recall . . . McGuckian experiences the usual as unusual, the unusual as exotic and perilous. McGuckian’s poems are discontinuous, ea…

Continue Reading

My Love Has Fared Inland

My Love Has Fared Inland

…ed—if not THE most gifted—of the post-War generation of Irish poets, Medbh McGuckian’s new book is a masterpiece of psychic map-making. Her latest journey to the ‘Inland’ of her distinctive poetic world is full of the pencil-marks of invaluable loci, astonishing encounters, whirlpools of inner thought, of Irish desolation and worldly, linguistic redemption. Read this book, treasure it, let it make waves as it pulls you into the McGuckian inlands.”…

Continue Reading

The Book of the Angel

The Book of the Angel

…Hollywood—and toward unreality in the Baroque tradition of trompe l’oeil. McGuckian’s poems remind one how different poetry is from prose; why it is a sister art of music and painting. Shortlisted for the 2005 Irish Times Poetry Now Prize Reviews “Sensuous and intellectual at once, McGuckian’s poetry is marked by a kind of ecstatic flow that never leaves the ground.” – Tom D’Evelyn, Providence Journal “Like a medieval painting whose archaic symbo…

Continue Reading

Blaris Moor

Blaris Moor

…ant to unite Protestants and Catholics. Always steeped in sensual longing, McGuckian’s poems are historically complex invocations of such volatile landscapes, shedding light on the workings of the private world behind the public conflict. The volume then moves to other scenes of similar contest, including meditations on the Flight of the Earls in the early 1600s and considerations of the two World Wars. The poems in Blaris Moor are conversations f…

Continue Reading

The Currach Requires No Harbours

The Currach Requires No Harbours

…consider their lives on islands both symbolic and real, islands with which McGuckian has often signaled the existence of the individual, as well as Ireland’s place in the larger world. The poems cast an hypnotic spell that grows until, in the deep acknowledgement of human suffering, the reader becomes a “picturesque believer” in “saints that have the gift of dreaming right” (“Galilee Porch”). The source of such visionary belief is in perception it…

Continue Reading

Poem of the Week: “Winter Beachhead” by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill

…n Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill’s meditative “Winter Beachhead,” translated by Medbh McGuckian, she acknowledges the beauty of a wintry beach scene and encourages patience “for the fullness to come.” Winter Beachhead This is the starkest hour of the shore when it’s purged and cleansed as a Sabbath door. There’s a brim of lather when the tide’s in as the waves go on with their day’s washing. No valved or spiralled or saucered whelk, no mussel or scallop quie…

Continue Reading

Poem of the Week: “Persephone Suffering from SAD” by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill

Poem of the Week: “Persephone Suffering from SAD” by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill

…re in Irish, with English translations by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Medbh McGuckian. These poems present other convergences, particularly the mingling of mythology with modern life as in today’s poem, where we encounter the Persephone of Greek myth in current times. A quick note: The Irish phrase in the last line, Céad Míle Fáilte, is a common greeting meaning “a hundred thousand welcomes.” Persephone Suffering from SAD Now don’t go ringing the c…

Continue Reading

Radio Signals: An interview with Leontia Flynn

…berating. You’ve written a dissertation and then published a book on Medbh McGuckian. Has her work influenced your own writing? And many of your poems refer to or draw from other poets—Seamus Heaney, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Michael Longley, Eavan Boland, Derek Mahon, to name a few. Who would you consider to be your greatest poetic influences? Medbh McGuckian’s debut and early books were game-changing-ly brilliant and it always bothered me that she…

Continue Reading

The WFU Press Holiday Sale & Gift-Giving Guide

…editions are available, too! 10. For the rebel: Michael Hartnett and Medbh McGuckian are both celebrated Irish poets who broke tradition in different ways. Hartnett is known for his highly political decision in 1975 to thenceforth only write in the Irish language at a time when the language was being stamped out. McGuckian was the first female writer-in-residence at Queen’s University and has always defied convention in her poetry. Books by these…

Continue Reading

The Soldiers of Year II

The Soldiers of Year II

…n these poems persists a suggestion that has come through in each of Medbh McGuckian‘s recent volumes: while the body may become a shared prison, nevertheless through its agency, through its ability, literally to act, the suffering and even the dead may find, if not release, then at least a common language. Note on the cover: The cover is an image of Thomas Ashe between guards at Kilmainham, 1916. Reviews “Her use of metaphor is freer and more ext…

Continue Reading

Shelmalier

Shelmalier

…shermen who became gunmen in the Irish rising of 1798, in Shelmalier Medbh McGuckian carries the sea changes in language she has elsewhere wrought in bodily tropes of waves, tides, liquidity, and blueness into poems where “the long, long dead / steer with their warmed breath / my unislanded dreams.” In poems that warm history into the living and breathing voice, McGuckian transforms the rebels’ “still unused voices” into “soon-to-be-living words”…

Continue Reading

Captain Lavender

Captain Lavender

…The poems in Captain Lavender, the fourth collection by Belfast poet Medbh McGuckian, are located along a fault line where two surfaces badly meet; where what can be stopped or held or escaped grinds against what once could but can no longer. Water is the reigning metaphor: apt in its mutable demarcations, its squalls and shipwrecks. That the poems in Captain Lavender are so insistently personal only makes them more convincingly political. The par…

Continue Reading

Pharaoh’s Daughter

Pharaoh’s Daughter

…ady, Peter Fallon, Michael Hartnett, Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Medbh McGuckian, Tom MacIntyre, Derek Mahon, John Montague, Paul Muldoon, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, and George O’Brien Reviews “[T]he branching-out, or shape-shifting, from Gaelic myth or folk-song to some less romantic or quirkier emblem of the present, is a constant resource of Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill’s poetry; and it’s one of the ways she has rescued the Irish language from its asso…

Continue Reading

The Miraculous Parish/An paróiste míorúilteach

The Miraculous Parish/An paróiste míorúilteach

…achievements of Eavan Boland, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Biddy Jenkinson, Medbh McGuckian, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Rita Ann Higgins, and others, and in more daunting social circumstances, Máire Mhac an tSaoi’s poetry speaks to and from the intimate experience of women at a time when women’s voices were largely inaudible, on the margins of Irish literature and society. A Miraculous Parish is a bilingual selection of her work, the first substantial colle…

Continue Reading

The Water Horse

The Water Horse

…an reprisals. The Water Horse is in Irish and English; translated by Medbh McGuckian and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin Reviews “As is to be expected of such a thrilling collaboration between such talented individuals, the results are literary magic. Ní Dhomhnaill’s style is at once erudite and down-to-earth, cosmopolitan and parochial.” – Niall McGrath, The Black Mountain Review “Through creating this volume, these three poets have created a rich tapestr…

Continue Reading

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

…2), translations from the Romanian poetry of Ileana Mălăncioiu. With Medbh McGuckian, Ní Chuilleanáin also co-translated the poems of Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill in The Water Horse (2001). Her newest collection The Mother House (2020) is due to be released in April 2020. *Author photo by Niall Hartnett Praise for Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin “[Ní Chuilleanáin’s work] thrives on the creepings, rustlings and imperceptible burgeonings of life which are the opposit…

Continue Reading

Frank Ormsby

Frank Ormsby

…ary generation of Northern Irish poets which includes Ciaran Carson, Medbh McGuckian, Paul Muldoon and Tom Paulin. He is a poet of the truest measure.” – Michael Longley, introduction to Goat’s Milk “[Ormsby’s] poems are concise, memorable and intelligent. . . . This is a poetry of simplicity and quiet power, one of hauntings, rememberings, and reimaginings.” – Seán Hewitt, Breac “Yet while [Ormsby] repeatedly celebrates the local and ‘the air-wid…

Continue Reading

On Ballycastle Beach

On Ballycastle Beach

With her third collection, On Ballycastle Beach, Medbh McGuckian deepens her exploration of the tension between imaginative and quotidian experience in suburban Belfast. In poems that explore a woman’s intense inner life—within the body, within the home, within erotic and maternal relationships—she gracefully unhinges semantic structures and rational thought to create an emotionally charged and very personal language. Reviews “Time and time again…

Continue Reading

The Shack: Irish Poets in the Foothills and Mountains of the Blue Ridge

The Shack: Irish Poets in the Foothills and Mountains of the Blue Ridge

…y, John Montague and Elizabeth Wassell, Vona Groarke, Ciaran Carson, Medbh McGuckian, Conor O’Callaghan, Michael Longley, and Derek Mahon. With lush watercolors by Kenneth Frazelle and an eighteenth-century painting of Old Salem by Christian Daniel Welfare. Footage of Conor O’Callaghan reading one of his poems from the book at the launch on March 13, 2015: Purchase a handmade broadside of the title poem, “The Shack” by Michael Longley, created on…

Continue Reading

Máire Mhac an tSaoi

Máire Mhac an tSaoi

…ie but I don’t think I would be heartbroken if it survived as a literary language. As long as I’m alive, Irish is alive.” Praise for Máire Mhac an tSaoi “A generation before the groundbreaking achievements of Eavan Boland, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Biddy Jenkinson, Medbh McGuckian, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Rita Ann Higgins, and others, and in more daunting social circumstances, Máire Mhac an tSaoi’s poetry speaks to and from the intimate experience of w…

Continue Reading

From “The Butterfly Notebook” to The Magpie and the Child: An Interview with Catriona Clutterbuck

…ey who sent me his two poems “Fragrant Orchid” and “Waterbirds,” and Medbh McGuckian, who wrote “On the Sleeve, How Can Tears Dry in Two Colours?”—all precious texts. There are some collections of poems I was lucky enough to find, which explore the territory of death and loss with very particular nuance, and which have guided and accompanied me during these past eight years since my child died. These include Seamus Heaney’s translations of Jan Koc…

Continue Reading

“Helen” by Frank Ormsby from GOAT’S MILK

“Helen” by Frank Ormsby from GOAT’S MILK

…ary generation of Northern Irish poets which includes Ciaran Carson, Medbh McGuckian, Paul Muldoon and Tom Paulin. He is a poet of the truest measure.” Ormsby weaves his artistry with the his personal experiences throughout the collection and in this poem below.   Helen (b. 12 August 1994) The war will soon be over, or so they say. Five floors below the Friday rush-hour starts. You’re out and breathing. We smile to hear you cry. Your long fingers…

Continue Reading

BEST OF 2013: WFU Press Style

BEST OF 2013: WFU Press Style

…their “own tradition” in their works. October marked the release of Medbh McGuckian’s The High Caul Cap, with language invoking the state of dreaming, of moving rapidly from one image to the next. Our newest publication is Conor O’Callaghan’s The Sun King, which comes out later this month. We look forward to publishing a number of upcoming books, including volumes by Harry Clifton, whose book The Holding Centre comes out in January, Maire Mhac an…

Continue Reading

The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry 1967–2000

The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry 1967–2000

…anthology includes poetry from Eavan Boland, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Medbh McGuckian, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Rita Ann Higgins, Paula Meehan, Mary O’Malley, Kerry Hardie, and Moya Cannon. The content in The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry 1967-2000 is selected and edited by Peggy O’Brien. Reviews “[T]his collection is one of the first proofs that Irish women poets have collectively emerged from the shadows of their brothers—and that they hav…

Continue Reading

The New North: Contemporary Poetry from Northern Ireland

The New North: Contemporary Poetry from Northern Ireland

…ic poems by Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Ciaran Carson, Paul Muldoon, Medbh McGuckian, and Michael Longley. Reviews Wake Forest University Press continues its impressive dedication to Irish poetry . . . with The New North. . . . [T]he poems and poets offer an insightful, lyrical look into the psyche of 21st-century Northern Ireland.” – Irish America Magazine “American-born editor Chris Agee, who has lived in Northern Ireland for decades, provides a…

Continue Reading

The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry

The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry

…nd’s finest poets: Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Eavan Boland, Eva Bourke, Medbh McGuckian, Kerry Hardie, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Mary O’Malley, Rita Ann Higgins, Paula Meehan, Moya Cannon, Katie Donovan, Vona Groarke, Enda Wyley, Sinéad Morrissey, Caitríona O’Reilly, and Leontia Flynn. This edition of The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry is edited by and includes a new preface by Peggy O’Brien. Electronic Bibliography (PDF) Reviews “The new additi…

Continue Reading

Goat’s Milk: New and Selected Poems

Goat’s Milk: New and Selected Poems

…ary generation of Northern Irish poets which includes Ciaran Carson, Medbh McGuckian, Paul Muldoon and Tom Paulin. He is a poet of the truest measure.” – Michael Longley, from the Introduction Kindle version available at Amazon.com iBook version available on iTunes Reviews for Goat’s Milk: New and Selected Poems “If humility does not preclude potency, then these poems are modesty’s triumphs, and equanimity’s trumpet-blasts.” – Killian Quigley, MAK…

Continue Reading

The Miraculous Máire Mhac an tSaoi

The Miraculous Máire Mhac an tSaoi

…i has paved the way for such female literary giants as Eavan Boland, Medbh McGuckian, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. The Miraculous Parish solidifies her reputation as the greatest living Irish language poet. The title refers to Mhac an tSaoi’s early childhood in the “miraculous parish” of Dún Chaoin (Dunquin), a Gaeltacht village in County Kerry, where she learned Irish. In the author’s preface, Mhac an tSaoi writes, “I remember…

Continue Reading